Coronavirus Impact: How video apps have zoomed to popularity sans advertising

Kalagato data shows an increase in userbase for video-communication apps

An analysis of daily active users shows that across five platforms (Hangouts, IMO, Skype, Zoom and House Party) daily average users have increased by 128%.
This feature is not available on Skype for Windows 10 (Version 14).

By Dev C

Spends on advertising by communication software companies, including Zoom, Microsoft, among others, have surpassed $45 million during the first quarter of the year, according to MediaRadar – US based ad sales intelligence firm. In contrast, the category spent less than $14 million during the same period, last year. In India, however, the scenario is much different. Without spending a lot on promotion, video conferencing apps have gained traction. Data from research firm Kalagato shows that video conferencing apps have been adding more users to their database. Additionally, people have been spending more time on platforms.

An analysis of daily active users shows that across five platforms (Hangouts, IMO, Skype, Zoom and House Party) daily average users have increased by 128%. While Zoom and House Part, which are relatively new apps have registered an increase of over 200% in their user base, Google Hang Out and Skype have witnessed a moderate increase of 22% and 48%, respectively.

“These apps were already a mainstay for many people and had a large userbase to begin with. So, even an increase of 30-40% is significant,” Aman Kumar, chief business officer, Kalagato, said.

Video-conferencing app Zoom, two weeks ago, announced that it has added 200 million users since the start of the year. However, the app recently landed in the soup on issues related to security. Users have been experiencing problems as Zoom has been lax with its security features. The company first apologised for not ensuring security updates on its app and then admitted that it had been using Chinese servers to generate encrypted keys. By Chinese law, a company must disclose all data that resides on servers in China. Frequent security lapses have led to a migration of people on other platforms.

In fact, the popularity of these apps is also evident from the fact that Google Hangout witnessed a 53% increase in session time, while Skype registered an 11% increase. The major impetus, however, has come for House Party with a 263% increase. The app has been in obscurity till now, but lockdowns have given it a new lease of life. People can play games as they connect with their friends on this group video calling app. It offers games like Pictionary and Charades to play with friends and does not require any special access.
What is rather confusing is that despite an increase in daily active users and session time Skype’s open rate has decreased—an open rate defines how many times an app is opened. While there was an increase in the open rate for all platforms, Skype was the only one which showed a six percent decline. People using multiple apps on the phone can be a reason for this decline.

As lockdowns get extended these apps are certainly going to witness an increased usage, and for business apps this may continue well after, what can’t be said though is if the House Party fad will continue.

Read Also: Has Zoom got it right on security?

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First published on: 15-04-2020 at 11:34 IST